Views Around The Praza do Obradoiro, Santiago de Compostela

June 3, 2013 — 8 Comments

Once you have finished walking the Camino de Santiago, you must have a tour inside the Santiago de Compostela Cathedral. Not only will you see amazing museum pieces and artifacts, you will get views from the upper level overlooking the Praza do Obradoiro, the main square. Obradoiro is Galician for workshop and this is what the plaza must have been during the construction of the cathedral. I couldn’t imagine the effort bringing in these large stones during ancient times.

On my last post, The Santiago de Compostela Cathedral, Views From The Praza do Obradoiro, I focused on views of the cathedral from the plaza. However, there are other great buildings surrounding the plaza that I’ll focus on now. From the upper levels of the cathedral, here is the Praza do Obradoiro looking northwest. The Hostal de los Reyes Catolicos is on your right, and on your left is…

Santiago de Compostela Praza do Obradoiro


the Palacio de Rajoy or Ayuntamiento de Santiago, the town hall of Santiago de Compostela.

Santiago de Compostela Galicia Praza do Obradoiro Town hall


Ordered to be built by Archbishop Bartolomé de Rajoy in 1766, Charles Lemaur, a French engineer, oversaw the construction.

Santiago de Compostela Ayuntamiento de Santiago


The building once housed a workshop, a prison, stored cannons, among other uses. Today, this is the current seat of the Municipality of Santiago de Compostela and the Presidency of the Government of Galicia.

Ayuntamiento de Santiago Praza do Obradoiro


The façade is neoclassical, a stark contrast to the Baroque style of the western or Obradoiro façade of the Santiago de Compostela Cathedral.

Ayuntamiento de Santiago


 Over the triangle pediment is Santiago Matamoros in battle.

Ayuntamiento de Santiago Galicia Praza Obradoiro


Now, let’s go back to the cathedral and look toward a very famous building, rich in history for the Camino de Santiago: the Hostal de los Reyes Catolicos or the Catholic Kings Hostal, which sits on the north side of the plaza.

Compostela Galicia Praza do Obradoiro


By the mid-1400s, the pilgrim hospice in Santiago de Compostela had deteriorated to an alarming point. It was evident that a new pilgrim hospice had to be built but acquiring the necessary funds proved difficult. Construction of the Hostal de los Reyes Catolicos finally began in 1501. Designed and supervised by architect Enrique Ega, it opened in 1509, and was completed about two years later.

Hostal Dos Reis Catolicos Praza do Obradoiro


 Today, the Hostal de los Reyes Catolicos is part of the Spanish hotel chain, Parador. Even if you’re not staying at the hotel, I would recommend walking inside and taking a look around as much as possible.

Santiago de Compostela Hostal Dos Reis Catolicos


Now, let’s look across the Praza to the south side. This is the Colegio de San Jerónimo or San Xerome Colexio, founded in the 16th century for students who couldn’t afford to attend university.

Santiago de Compostela Colegio de San Jerónimo


The portal once belonged to the Hospital de la Azabachería. Today, the Colegio de San Jerónimo holds the rectorate of the university.

Colegio de San Jerónimo Santiago de Compostela Galicia Praza do Obradoiro


Outside the walls of the cathedral, mostly tourists posed for photos with these impersonators. It wasn’t quite my idea of good taste but maybe, that’s just me.

Santiago de Compostela Galicia Catedral


One more look at the cathedral, a proud moment from my first Camino, after I had walked 800 kilometers on the Camino Francés.



Now, let’s go to the center of the plaza where there are two plaques amongst the stones. I believe this one is to commemorate the 2004 Holy Year. If anybody has more information, please let me know.

Santiago de Compostela Camino Europa


In 1987, the Camino de Santiago was declared the first European Cultural Itinerary by the Council of Europe. In 1993, the pilgrimage route was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Europa Camino de Santiago Praza do Obradoiro


After I celebrated arriving to Santiago de Compostela after my Camino del Norte with a feast of Pulpo a la Gallega, I returned to the Praza to watch the sun set under beautiful skies.

Santiago de Compostela Galicia Praza do Obradoiro sunset


Sunset Santiago de Compostela Galicia The Praza do Obradoiro


Santiago de Compostela sunset Galicia Praza do Obradoiro


If you haven’t seen it yet, please watch my video as I entered the Praza do Obradoiro at the end of my Camino del Norte. Please also read my post Entering the Praza do Obradoiro, Santiago de Compostela, A Pilgrim’s View.


I hope you enjoyed this post but I’m not finished my visit in Santiago de Compostela yet. On my next post, The Santiago de Compostela Cathedral, Views From The Interior, we’ll go inside and visit the beautiful cathedral. Please join me.

If you have my book, Camino de Santiago In 20 Days, or have ordered it, I really appreciate your support. It’s also out on Kindle and Kobo. My Goodreads and Amazon pages have reviews and more information. Please share this post, and thanks for your time.

About Randall St. Germain

Randall St. Germain, author of Camino de Santiago In 20 Days, is a middle-aged Canadian Boy who is passionate about nature, photography, hiking, music, and self-improvement. After the death of his mother, he chose to walk the famous pilgrimage, the Camino de Santiago, across the north of Spain, despite knowing little about it. He certainly didn’t plan to write a book until the latter days of his Camino. Similar to walking the Camino, writing and publishing a book was a learning experience. It was also very rewarding, and part of his ongoing journey. Please join him as he takes you along on his journey in Camino de Santiago In 20 Days, and on his blog Camino My Way.


8 responses to Views Around The Praza do Obradoiro, Santiago de Compostela

  1. Just shared with my Facebook community. I’m walking for childhood cancer research in the end, and am so excited for the emotional journey that awaits on the Norte! I’ve been to Santiago about half a dozen times, but walking into Obradoiro will be so different this year!

    • Hi Cat. That’s great of you for walking for such a fine cause. If you need any support, please let me know. Walking into the Praza will be a different emotion for sure this time. Especially after a rather difficult Camino del Norte. Wishing you a safe and pleasant journey. Buen Camino 🙂

  2. Yes, Randall, I enjoyed this post a lot. This was a perfect description with feel that I´ve already been there. I´m on Camino virtually since January 2012. Starting to afraid that I´ll miss moments of surprise. But I don´t blame you for that, it´s my sin dealing so much (almost all the time) with the Camino.

    • Hi Peter. I’m glad your enjoying the posts. You’re right though, leave some for the surprise. I will assure you though, you will see things that either I didn’t see or didn’t post. There is so much and I only scratched the surface, so to speak, on the Camino. Walk with a clear mind and enjoy yourself 🙂

  3. Wow, this is a gorgeous post…the photos are absolutely beautiful! I can picture myself standing in that square with the large (and long!) buildings surrounding me and making me feel really tiny…like you said, amazing that all of those large stones were carried there in times of the past!
    The clouds in the sky in the last few photographs are amazing…what a spectacular day to capture on ‘film’…thanks for sharing your amazing adventures. Cheers, Jill 🙂

    • Hi Jill. Thank you very much. You are right, the buildings around the plaza are so different, tall and long, and in different styles of architecture. I was very lucky to be in Santiago on beautiful days. The sunsets on the cathedral and around the plaza were amazing. Thanks again for stopping by 🙂

  4. Hi Randall, the words in the plaque are in Gallego language, however I can tell you that the meaning is: “In 2004, the Camino de Santiago received the Prince of Asturias Award for Concord, as a place of pilgrimage and encounter between people (not sure how to translate “pesoas e pobos”, it’s like persons and the inhabitants from different towns through the camino), who through the centuries, has became a symbol of brotherhood and a backbone of an European conscience.

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